Do you view the world through a negative lens (pessimist) or a positive lens (optimist)? I'll take you through a few examples so we can see how these lenses determine people's happiness.
In America, slavery ended in 1865. There are two lenses to view this in 2020:
- It took all the way until 1865 for those evil racists to end slavery. I'm a victim because I'm black and there are still racists today.
- Slavery ended in 1865, I'm grateful I was born after that time so that I don't have to live through the horrors of slavery. I understand that there will always be some racists (because there will always be some bad people). But as knowledge of social issues spreads, there will be fewer racists over time.
In 1920, American women got the right to vote. There are two lenses to view this in 2020:
- It took so long for those evil misogynists to give women the right to vote. I'm a victim because I'm a woman and there are still misogynists today.
- Women got the right to vote in 1920, I'm grateful that I was born in contemporary times so I have the right to vote. I understand that there will always be some misogynists (because there will always be some bad people). But as knowledge of social issues spreads, there will be fewer misogynists over time.
Which viewpoint is the pessimist? Which is the optimist? Which one is more in line with your viewpoint?
Notice how the pessimists focus on victimhood and an evil enemy. Notice how the optimists focus on gratitude and being reasonable.